Chase Elliott blogs about winning at Pocono and racing at Road America
- Jun 12, 2013
- Team Hendrick
This past weekend at Pocono Raceway with the ARCA Racing Series has been one that I will never forget. Just having the opportunity to race there meant the world to me and getting to go to Victory Lane put it over the top. It was such an amazing experience. I mean, I remember standing in that same Victory Lane 11 years ago celebrating a win with my Dad. It’s just a special moment, and I’m incredibly happy and thankful to have shared it with everyone who works on the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet.
From the start of the race we knew we had a fast car, despite having to start from the 33rd position after qualifying was canceled. I just knew that I had to be patient and run a mistake-free race in order to be around at the end. (Crew chief) Lance (McGrew) did a great job keeping up with the racetrack and making the adjustments necessary to get us to the front and ultimately to the lead. Once we got out in front, we looked like we were in good shape, but we knew we weren’t safe. I’d be lying if I didn’t say those last few laps seemed like an eternity. But, at the end of the day, it was just so cool to get to go to Victory Lane for (team owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and become the youngest superspeedway winner in the ARCA’s 61 year history.
Now as awesome as the win at Pocono was, the racing schedule won’t allow you to celebrate for long. My mind already has shifted gears to the Road America road course. I’ll race there in the ARCA Racing Series on June 22.
Racing on the road courses is something totally different from what I usually do, and I like it. It’s a kind of racing that’s more about how you keep the car on the track than how it handles. But, because I don’t have a whole lot of experience on these tracks, aside from the ARCA race at New Jersey Motorsports Park last year where we finished second, my preparation these next couple of weeks leading up to Road America is going to be crucial to how well we’ll run.
Later this week, I’ll be heading out to Las Vegas to take part in the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School run by road racing veteran Ron Fellows. While there, I’ll be able to learn the road racing dos and don’ts from the three-time American Le Mans Series champion, two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and the 2001 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona overall winner. Hopefully I’ll be able to soak up as much knowledge as possible from my time with Fellows and use that knowledge to my advantage when Road America comes around.
To go along with the racing school, I’ve found that running laps on the virtual Road America track on iRacing has really helped me get a feel for how the track is laid out. For those of you who don’t know, iRacing is a realistic racing simulator that allows people from all across the world to race and compete against one another in different racing series and racetracks. It’s something that definitely can be beneficial, especially since the tracks in the game are almost spot-on to how they are in real life. Plus, I honestly think that iRacing can help you learn more about how to race on a road course than it can anywhere else, it just does a great job helping you get an understanding of what you’re in for when you get to the track in real life.
Overall, we are very confident heading into Road America, and I think that after these next few weeks of preparation, we’ll have as good a shot as anybody to get ourselves our second win of the year.